A record number of athletes from the City of Lancaster Triathlon (COLT) club recently took on the gruelling Ironman UK event which is held in Bolton every year.
The event involves taking on a 2.4 mile open water swim in Pennington Flash, followed by cycling 112 miles around Lancashire’s undulating scenery and finally running a 26.2 mile marathon around Bolton City Centre.
Participants have to complete this distance within 17 hours to get the title of Ironman.
COLT always has a great turn out for this event due to its locality but this year was extra special with its largest number of club entries which included its largest number of female participants.
The growing presence of COLT athletes within Ironman events throughout Europe has helped the club rise to first in the UK Division II and second in Europe Division II (the division is based on number of club members).
Thirty triathletes lined up at Pennington Flash for the 6am swim start with a club record 28 making it to the finish on a day where temperatures rose making it a tough end to a long day.
Bad fortune befell Kieran Rowlands who was injured during the swim, forcing an early retirement, while Nicky Cannon suffered mechanical issues on the bike and was forced to withdraw before the run.
There were some excellent results in the event, where 14 COLTS made their Ironman distance debuts.
Sammie Stuart was the first female finisher in 11.59 hrs closely followed by Jenny Evans in 12.13 hrs, a performance which saw her offered a roll-down place to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, the pinnacle of Ironman racing.
Club newcomer and a Kona World Championships competitor in 2015 Robbie Whittaker was the first male home in an outstanding 10.15 hrs with Andy Ley close behind in 10.50 hrs followed by Ironman veteran Chris Wild coming home in 11.00 hrs in his 22nd 140.6 mile race at this distance.
One of the highlights of the event is the support that all athletes receive on both the bike and run course.
Over the years, COLT has taken over Babylon Lane in Adlington which has come to known as ‘Colt Alley’, in which competitors experience a Tour de France style atmosphere when riding through on the bike.